Malcolm out of Action
Sorry for the delay in this month's Bulletin. It has actually been nearly finished, but I ended up having a much needed rest in hospital and with Ed and Deb away no one else was around that knew how to send it.
Deb and Ed Tie the Knot
Ed and Deb finally tied the knot at the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse and as if one lighthouse wasn't enough they have gone off to King Island to check out the lighthouses there. Full report in the December Bulletin which hopefully will come out very early December.
Ian Clifford gives us another great report
Another great report on the Norah Head Lighthouse as seen from the inside, and comparing it with the 2 other Barnet style lights of the same period.
First Instalment of John Ibbotson's Trip
John shares with us his adventure across the top of Australia in 3 parts beginning this Bulletin. John sees this as the final stage of preparation for a coffee table style book on Australian lighthouses as they were at the end of the 20th Century.
Over the years I have photographed most of the major lighthouses in southern two thirds of Australia. To be able to finalize putting together a coffee table book "Lighthouses of Australia - Images from the End of the Twentieth Century" I needed to photograph those between Cleveland and Carnarvon. I decided that the best way to do this was to drive right around the country.
An old friend John (Jack) Bruil from Seattle offered to come and keep me company, an offer I quickly accepted. We left Melbourne on September 4th in my '76 Valiant station wagon. The idea of driving a 24-year-old car 20,000km around Australia drew a lot of derisive remarks and laughter from friends. I was not the slightest bit concerned about its reliability.
We wasted no time in arriving in Queensland although we did stop to see Beverley Atkins and David Gray at AMSA in Canberra, Mark Sheriff at Sugarloaf Point and Liz and Ray Campbell at Smokey Cape. Liz and Ray have just opened up the cottages for visitors so if you're looking for a great place to stay at Seal Rocks . Once over the border we also visited John Sugarman at AMSA in Brisbane and Stuart (& Shirley) Buchanan, the author of "The Lighthouse Keepers" and "Lighthouse of Tragedy".
The new light at Cleveland doesn't have much character but the old light is nearby and makes a visit worthwhile. From there we went over to Moreton Island - on the ferry as foot passengers. Sand is not one of the Valliant's strong points!
We rented a little 4WD and bounced out to Cape Moreton for sunset and again for sunrise. Apart from being a spectacular light it is the only stone lighthouse in Queensland.
Point Cartwright is an elegant tower. It was built to replace the Caloundra light that was being obscured by surrounding high-rise buildings. Cartwright is the only Australian lighthouse I know of that has a flush toilet half way up the tower.
We hired another 4WD at Rainbow Beach to travel out to Double Island Point. It is quite a long walk up to the light from the gate at the beach but well worth it. There is an organized tour from Rainbow Beach that is allowed to drive up to the light. Definitely the way to go if you're not into huffing and puffing.
On Fraser Island it was possible that the Ngkala Rocks would be impassable so we flew in and landed on the beach near the lightstation. Great way to get there except for the National Park Service (NPS) red tape. It was also the only place in Australia that has required me to pay a photographers fee. That would be ok if I was going to make a profit out of this project but that is as remote a possibility as lighthouses taking over from GPS.
In Bundaberg we went out to the South Head (Burnett River) light. The tower is covered in tiles like Point Cartwright and the old Fitzroy Island light.
We also found the old Breaksea Spit lightships (SLC7 and SLC8) moored in the river. They were a sad sight. They are currently being made "environmentally clean" before being taken off shore and sunk to become part of a manmade reef.
It seems that the only lightships that will survive for prosperity are the ones in the Queensland and National Maritime museums.
From Bundaberg we flew out to Lady Elliot Island for a day. It's a lovely low-key resort and I would have liked to spend a few days there. The old light there has been deactivated and handed over to the NPS. A 32-meter frame tower that can be seen above the tops of the casuarina trees has replaced it. Don Adams planted these trees in 1969 but trimming of the trees was not permitted and the light was obscured. Although the old light no longer shines the fence around it has been removed and it has been given a new coat of paint. Maybe in the future access to the tower will be permitted.
The trip to Bustard Head from the Town of 1770 in a Pink LARC was an informative and enjoyable day. The light is in good condition but it is sad to see the state of the houses that were vandalized some years ago. The whole lightstation area, except for the tower looked abandoned. Hopefully one of the proposals to restore the station will be given the go ahead.
Read part 2 of Johns 3 part report on his adventure across the top of Australia in the December Bulletin.
Norah Head Visit
Photographing the internals of Norah Head represented the last chapter in something I had always wanted to do, visit and photograph Point Perpendicular, Norah Head and Cape Byron. So on yet another rainy day after four hours on the road most of it spent traversing the Sydney morning peak hour, which on a wet day makes Bourke and Wills adventures pale in comparison, I arrive at Norah Head.
It must be the time of year, it was around the same time last year that I visited the Solitary Islands off Coffs Harbour, and I was plagued by showers.
The reason for my particular interest in Norah is its design. This it shares with Point Perpendicular, built in 1898/99 and Cape Byron built in 1899/00/01.
Norah was the last built of the three in 1902/03. In fact it was the last major lighthouse built on the NSW coast completing the most remarkable program of major lighthouse building in the Australian colonial period. The aim of the then president of the NSW Marine Board to light the NSW coast like a " street with lamps" or to be exact one lighthouse on average every 33.8 miles, the highest density achieved in Australia.
As with Cape Byron
sandblasted around the lighthouse service crest in the glass panels
of the doorway at the tower's entrance is a Latin inscription, "Olim
periculum-nunc salus" -
There remains some doubt about whether James Barnet or Charles Harding designed the three lights. Certainly the plans and specifications are the work of Harding, as Barnet retired from his position as colonial architect in 1890. The design certainly has the Barnet characteristics, attached rooms, black and white tiled floors and bluestone balconies. Barnet certainly claimed them to be of his design later in life.
The bases are mass concrete and the towers are constructed of preformed concrete blocks lifted and cemented into position before being concrete rendered inside and out.
This method saving time and money as unlike earlier lighthouses built of mass concrete no formwork was required.
Norah Head is located just North of the popular Central Coast holiday destination The Entrance, which derives it name from being at the sea entrance to Tuggerah Lake. The headland is relatively low so the tower is the biggest of the three at twenty-seven metres to the top of the lantern house.
Perhaps the government felt Chance Bros had learnt their lesson, as Norah is fitted with a 2nd order (700mm) catadioptric 2 panel lens giving a .05sec flash of 1,000,000 candelas every 15 sec. Note the same character as Cape Byron with its unique French optic, but only half as bright with a slightly longer flash. You would really have to be a lousy navigator to confuse the two, as they are about 600km apart.
This very large lens is mounted unusually high on a large steel frame above a mercury float completing one revolution every 30 sec. The lantern room is reached by ascending a precisely proportioned spiral staircase curving around the inner wall.
A fixed red subsidiary light located lower down in the North face of the tower of 280 candelas now provided by a modern plastic API 12 volt beacon warns of Bull's Head a reef located offshore to the north. It was here in 1894 that the "Gwydir" was wrecked.
Amazingly another ship of the same name ran aground in almost the same spot 48 years later after a collision in blackout conditions during the Second World War.
A second subsidiary light was fitted in 1995 to warn of offshore shoals to the south east of the lighthouse. Also an API FA 250 beacon, this one producing a green light of 250 candelas. The beacon is mounted on the internal catwalk beside the main lens.
Adjacent to the subsidiary beacon on the catwalk is a wind direction indicator driven by a mechanical linkage from the wind vane located on top of the lantern house.
The cottages are also constructed of precast concrete blocks to the same design as Cape Byron and Point Perpendicular and are now under the control together with the lighthouse reserve of the Department of Land And Water Conservation. The operation of the Light remains under the control of AMSA.
Albany's Breaksea & Point King Lighthouses
Shipwrecked, Jailed and Mutinied!
Needed. Photograph and Details of Intact Oil Burner Lamp
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the Dec 2000 Bulletin
NOVEMBER 00 BULLETIN was published on: 26/11/00
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